I LOVE...LOVE...LOVE the book Fearlessly Feminine by Jani Ortlund (hmmmm...that first sentence sounds a little bit like a 7th grade reading report.) Anyways, I had read it about 2 years ago and then placed it on my shelf...vowing to myself that I would now remember all of the reasons why God made me a woman and that I would take pleasure in my role...that I would not be wavered by the world laughing and challenging me on my *place*, that I would forever remember how to love my husband....keep my children....live for God - and now two years later it is time to dust off Mrs. Ortlund and take another look into the chapters of wisdom. Sadly, I have forgotten many of the reasons why it is that I wanted to be a mother....I have become pretty lax in my role as wife ( you know...not just the motions but honestly DOING and FEELING the things you should for your partner from a pure heart.) So, as I slowly make my way through this book I'm going to post some of Jani's thoughts in hopes that it will encourage you...whoever you may be. :)
In one chapter while she was remembering back to days before children she wrote :
" I thought that teaching 28 energetic and needy children how to read had to be the hardest job on earth. I was wrong - mothering was. Now I had to give up my right to sleep when I needed it, to a meal without interruptions, to relaxation when I wanted it, and most importantly, my right to withdraw when I felt overwhelmed.
Motherhood is costly. And it is only natural to try to resist the pain and still reap the benefits. But it is this very difficulty, surmounted and conquered, that brings the richest rewards. Anything of worth is costly : devotion to God, a strong marriage, financial responsibility, a life of integrity, and of course, fearlessly feminine mothering.
To be fearlessly feminine means mothering well. It means being willing to put someone else's needs ahead of your own. The fearlessly feminine woman stops running from her children. She develops a deep sense of the value of her hourly sacrifices as mother. There is no "National Mother's Union" she can petition for higher pay or better work conditions. Yet, as she surrenders to the call of motherhood, she fleshes out her answer to the question, "What is truly important in my life: what is of eternal significance? "
I loved reading that. The light clicked for me as I read that part about not being able to withdraw when you need to. It's true...you can't run out the door when the chaos doesn't end. You can't shut down emotionally and just be a stone wall...that forever "on" is what is so challenging for me because being *available* ALWAYS honestly does WEAR YOU OUT.
In the end though - I love being a mother. I love knowing that God created me to take care and tend these little hearts...to love them and KNOW them better then any other, to raise them up to be Godly and to make a difference. Wow. This is a huge task. She says "So remain approachable. Sympathize with your child. Be as gracious and merciful as you would want your husband or friend to be toward you, so that your child learns that you are a safe place in times of need." I'm choosing to be the most influential person in my children's lives....I'm blessed that I don't have to send them off to childcare everyday...or that a grandparent has to keep them all day so that I can work. I think I've taken some of that for granted, some ladies really don't have a choice...then others just don't want to give up their *lifestyle* so they don't think they have a choice. :) Somedays are hard....some days are just perfect.
To end this "chapter review" she says on page 121 "The price you pay for mothering will fade into insignificance as your children grow. So take heart. Your own agenda can wait. Invest yourself in something greater. Pay the price to gain something richer. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up " (Galatians 6:9)
My kids have been sick for a week almost....I have had the flu for a couple days. Going into 2010 my prayer is that I would focus on the task at hand....not the future. I always look ahead...I think some of that is good and some of it just borrows trouble. I want to be emotionally available for my kids, physically available - I want to focus on teaching them the Word in 2010, make little things fun...filling their lives with joy and simplicity. Who knows what the next year will hold for our little family...whatever it is I know will be good in one way or the other for God cares for us...He delights in the Little Corleys...He longs to be close to us and to take on our problems and to share in our joy. Blessed be the name of the Lord...and God bless you all.